Evatt | We Still Need Everybody

Evatt clap Barnsley

Ian Evatt is calling for a collective effort to help Wanderers take the next step towards Wembley, writes Pete Oliver.

Evatt’s side will go into the second leg of their play-off semi-final against Barnsley with a 3-1 lead thanks to an impressive performance at Oakwell.

The Whites will now have home advantage in the return next Tuesday night as they look to complete an aggregate victory and go to Wembley for a promotion shoot-out against either Peterborough or Oxford.

The Toughsheet Community Stadium is set for a huge crowd on a potentially big night and despite the two-goal advantage, Evatt insists it will still be all hands to the pump to complete the mission.

“There's nothing achieved just yet,” said the Wanderers’ boss after a Dion Charles double and Randell Williams’ late strike had given his side a deserved victory in South Yorkshire.


Evatt applause Barnsley

“This is a collective responsibility. The players, myself, the staff are responsible for Tuesday night. But we need the fans as well.

“They were incredible tonight and we need our stadium packed out. We need it to be raucous, intense and intimidating for the opponents and to really back the players to get the job done.

“And from what I've seen they're going to be there in their numbers. We're going to need them. We needed them tonight. They really stood up for us and hopefully they can go home happy.

“It's a step forward and that's all it is. We've seen from that 10/15-minute spell that Barnsley are a momentum team and if you give them momentum they can hurt you and cause you problems, so we have to manage that better and stay concentrated and focused for 90-plus minutes.

“But we deserve that tonight and we now have to get ready for the next game. It's a collective responsibility. We're all invested in this project and this football club and we all want to see us do well.


Evatt Baxter Barnsley

“We need everybody. We need the players, we need the coaching staff, we need the fans and the non-football staff to really come together and push us towards that next step.”

Twelve months ago Wanderers lost at Barnsley to see their promotion hopes ended at the same stage but there never looked likely to be a repeat this time.

The Whites forced the pace for most of the night and led 2-0 early in the second half as Charles followed up an excellent opener with the penalty that took him to 20 goals for the season.

Almost out of nowhere Barnsley pulled a goal back through substitute Sam Cosgrove with 15 minutes to go.

But after Nathan Baxter had made two superb saves to limit the fightback, Wanderers added a crucial third goal in injury time direct from a Williams’ corner to increase the advantage going into the second leg.


Crowd Barnsley

“For 75 minutes it was a fantastic away performance,” added Evatt. “I thought we more than deserved our two-goal lead. We had a goal in my view harshly ruled out from a set-play but we looked a threat from set-plays all night.

“Then from the first real lapse in concentration of the evening, when Barnsley are asking so many questions, they score and kind of changed the momentum of everything for 10 minutes.

“We had to weather the storm and Nathan made some big saves but then to re-group and have a big chance from Kyle, and then score from the set-play with the importance of set-plays highlighted again, I thought we got what we deserved.

“The fans were incredible and the players, not just the 11 but everyone involved, showed the togetherness, along with the support, which was fantastic. I'm delighted with how they focused tonight and now we have to do it all again on Tuesday.”

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